©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

When Mercy Rains

I love picking up a Kim Vogel Sawyer book and sitting down to read. I know I'll lose myself in the plot and in the characters' lives and I won't come out again until I'm through. When I saw that When Mercy Rains was available, I knew I was in for a good treat, and I was far from disappointed.

The people:

Suzanne is a young single mother who hasn't seen her family in nearly twenty years when she gets a letter from her brother telling her that her mother has had an accident and needs Suzanne's nursing skills.

Abigail is Suzanne's mother who sent her away when she became pregnant outside of marriage. Abigail couldn't stand the thought of the shame that would come her way, and has become embittered by Suzanne's and her own actions.

Alexa is Suzanne's nineteen-year-old daughter--and loves to bake and create new desserts especially.

Clete is Suzanne's brother who sent for her

Shelley and Sandra are Suzanne's sisters and they resent Suzanne's coming to take care of their mother.

Paul is the man who got Suzanne pregnant and is now a young widower with a young son, Danny.

The setting:

From Franklin, Indiana, to Arborville, Kansas, Suzanne travels to Abigail's Victorian house and is surprised by how run down the farm has become. Repairs need to be made to the inside and outside of the house, it is almost a time capsule back to when Suzanne lived there.

Paul has been hired by the family to make renovations to the house and make it handicapped friendly. He begins working on the kitchen, rearranging the cabinets so that Abigail can reach what she needs to be as independent as possible. Abigail sees this as an opportunity to play matchmaker and get Paul and Suzanne back together again. Paul is more willing than Suzanne to possibly reconnect.

One thing that surprises Suzanne is the hostility she receives from her sisters who were never told why she left in the first place. It takes Abigail's birthday celebration to bring all the hostilities and hurts out in the open. Abigail is sick at the bitterness she sees in Shelley and regrets how much of it must have come from her.

Suzanne holds tightly to Alexa because of the baby she gave up for adoption as ordered by her mother. When it comes out that Alexa is not Suzanne's biological child and that Alexa was found at the unwed mother's home, a lot of the anger floats away--but not all of it. Suzanne has been afraid that her family will try to "steal" Alexa away from her, but the time has come for Alexa to stretch her wings. In stretching, Alexa has decided that she wants to turn her grandmother's home into a bed and breakfast. There is a summer kitchen behind the Victorian house that will serve as Alexa's private quarters.

While this is not a truly Amish novel, it has some Amish characteristics, but primarily the characters are Old Order Mennonite, who do use modern conveniences but still enjoy a simple life. The faith of the characters reflects Kim's faith and comes out clear in the book. Paul and Suzanne both have come to regret their hasty decision to sleep together before marriage. Without preaching Kim has delineated the perils of pride and holding onto anger--how much they really cost us when we do hold onto them.

This book gets Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a dessert that will touch your heart as well as your taste buds.

Thanks go to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.

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